My dad was recently diagnosed with cancer. Because of his age he will not be able to withstand the usual regimen of chemo and radiation treatment. He has been handed a death sentence. He will receive pain medication when it is needed. He has time, but not the time that we had counted on.
Being 87 and having come to terms with his own mortality, he has handled it much better than I. I have had to deal with the usual rollercoaster of emotions — anger, helplessness, disbelief, and sorrow. I have a great wife who has been there for me. I have friends that I can talk it with. One of those friends was kind enough to point out to me what I felt, but hadn’t yet talked about.
Along with all those other emotions there was another: fear.
Fear because when I look at my father, I see myself, and now I have to start dealing with thoughts of my own mortality.
I knew I needed to deal with those emotions, but put it off due to denial. Sleeplessness and moodiness quickly followed in a predictable procession of events.
One night I went downstairs knowing that I had to burn off the stress chemicals with a good physical workout. A six-foot, 100-pound black heavy bag hangs there. In my mind that bag took on the image of death itself: a black cowl, scythe in hand. I attacked with everything I had — elbows, knees, fists, feet. I hit it with every ounce of anger, fear, and sorrow.
I tried to beat death to death.
I eventually collapsed on the floor, physically exhausted, covered in sweat, gasping for air between sobs. Through the tears in my eyes I looked up and death still stood before me.
I learned two things that night. Death will come eventually for all of us no matter what; for whatever reason, that gave me a sense of peace and resolve for both my father and myself. The second thing I already knew, but it was confirmed once again: that night after acknowledging and appropriately dealing with my emotions I slept like I hadn’t slept in a long time.
I had experienced that same sleep the night after attending Lisa Wimberger’s presentation at the 2012 ILEETA conference. During that presentation she guided us through a meditation exercise. That night — despite the fact I was in a hotel and would be doing my own presentation the next day — I slept a deep, peaceful sleep.
As a result of that experience I contacted Lisa and bought a CD with the same guided exercise on it. I have used it since then.
Lisa Wimberger can be contacted at http://neurosculptinginstitute.com/.